Bell tolls as Down suffer shock exit
Derry 0-13 Down 1-5
A completely dominant second-half display saw Derry claim a shock victory over a frustrated Down side who finished the game with 13 men at Celtic Park.
The home team showed great character after Donal O'Hare's goal in first-half injury-time looked to have swung the momentum in favour of the visitors. However, there was to be no repeat of the second-half collapse that cost Derry when the sides met in Ulster.
With six-point teenager Ryan Bell leading the charge, Brian McIver's men lorded the second period, restricting Down to a single O'Hare free.
The home side had led 0-7 to 0-2 as the first half entered injury-time. But they were soon rocking as O'Hare netted. And before the half-time whistle, Down were level at 1-4 to 0-7 after another O'Hare free.
The stage seemed set for Down to push on but it was Derry who would dominate the half, with Bell's scoring helping them to pull away.
Down's cause was further damaged when Brendan McArdle was sent off on 58 minutes for striking Chrissy McKaigue off the ball. Bell's sixth point and Emmet McGuckin's second saw the Oak Leafers home by five points.
There was still time for Down's Kevin McKernan to be sent off in injury-time.
Scorers – Derry: R Bell 0-6 (1f, 1 '45'), J Kielt (2f), E Bradley, E McGuckin 0-2 each, L Kennedy 0-1. Down: D O'Hare 1-4 (4f), A Rogers 0-1.
Derry – E McNicholl; A McAlynn, C McKaigue, D McBride; C Kielt, M Lynch, SL McGoldrick; P Bradley, P J McCloskey; C McAtamney, J Kielt, E Lynn; R Bell, E Bradley, L Kennedy. Subs: E McGuckin for Kennedy (45), B Heron for McAtamney (54), C McFaul for Bell (69).
Down – B McVeigh; D McCartan, B McArdle, K Quinn; O Costello, P Turley, R Boyle; K King, K McKernan; A Rogers, M Poland, N Madine; C Laverty, J Johnston, D O'Hare. Subs: B Coulter for Madine (45), R Mallon for Johnston (52), D Hughes for Quinn (55), D Savage for P Turley (68).
Referee: C Reilly (Meath).